Styx, Queen and Tom Petty Win 2017 UCR Fan Choice Awards
The polls are closed and the people have spoken. We've tallied up your ballots to determine the winners of the 2017 Ultimate Classic Rock Fan Choice Awards, and they're all lined up right here.
It can be hard for a classic rock act to entice longtime fans with new music these days, but Styx's audience definitely appreciated the band's return from a long hiatus between albums of original material. The Mission, the group's 16th studio LP and first since 2003's Cyclorama, marked Styx's highest chart peak in more than 30 years when it debuted in June — and the fan base is still excited about it, as evidenced by the voting results in our Album of the Year category. The Mission took top honors with 52 percent of the vote, easily outdistancing the follow-up contender, Gregg Allman's Southern Blood.
Styx also enjoyed a strong showing in the Song of the Year category, where the Mission cut "Hundred Million Miles From Home" — one of several songs made available for streaming prior to the album's release — racked up 56 percent of the vote on its way to a first-place finish. Once again in second place: Allman, with his Southern Blood cut "My Only True Friend."
We already knew plenty of classic rock artists made good money on the road in 2017, thanks to top-grossing tours from Metallica, Guns N' Roses and U2. But none of those acts topped the UCR Fan Choice Awards; instead, Queen enjoyed a landslide victory for top Tour of the Year, drawing a whopping 69 percent of the vote. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' 40th anniversary tour, sadly punctuated by Petty's unexpected death, took a distant second.
Speaking of concerts, UCR voters also had some pretty strong opinions regarding who put out the best live album of the year. Wembley or Bust, the latest live release from Jeff Lynne's ELO, earned that title with a solid 52 percent of the vote — far and away outpacing their closest contender, the Tedeschi Trucks Band.
All the best classic rock acts have deluxe box sets these days, and 2017 added plenty of new ones to the list — including an expanded look back at Def Leppard's landmark Hysteria LP, which added an assortment of audiovisual goodies to the original track listing. That was more than good enough for the fans who voted, handing Lep a victory in our Best Box Set category with 40 percent of the tally. The Beatles placed second, drawing 19 percent of the vote with their Sgt. Pepper's anniversary box.
Of course, a great archival project doesn't have to be a full-on box, and you had your favorites among the smaller-scale retrospective releases that arrived in 2017 too. First among them was the Yardbirds' Yardbirds '68 set, a double-album collection of live and previously unreleased studio material that captures moments from the tenure of future Led Zeppelin co-founder Jimmy Page. Coming in second were the Rolling Stones, who placed with On Air in the Sixties, a collection of performances that were — you guessed it — originally recorded for TV and radio broadcasts in the '60s.
Last but certainly not least, we have our results in the Artist of the Year category. As has been the case far too often in recent years, our list of nominees was shadowed by death, and paying tribute to the departed may have been on some voters' minds when they cast their ballots: Petty placed first with 53 percent of the vote, followed fairly closely by Allman with 44 percent. Look over a complete list of the top vote-getters below, and look back over the various category pages to see how the nominees broke down here.
Album of the Year
Styx, The Mission - 52%
Gregg Allman, Southern Blood - 35%
Song of the Year
Styx, "Hundred Million Miles from Home" - 56%
Gregg Allman, "My Only True Friend" - 37%
Queen and Adam Lambert, 69%
Tom Petty, 13%
Best New Live Album or Video
Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Wembley or Bust - 52%
Tedeschi Trucks Band, Live from the Fox Oakland, 9%
Def Leppard, Hysteria - 40%
The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's - 19%
Archival Live Album or Video
The Yardbirds, Yardbirds ’68 - 47%
Rolling Stones, Stones on Air - 15%
Artist of the Year
Tom Petty - 53%
Gregg Allman - 44%